>> announcer: this is al jazeera. ♪ hello there, and welcome to the news hour. i'm laura kyle in doha with our top stories. close to a ceasefire in ukraine, russia's president has a plan, and says a deal with separatists could be reached within days. iraq's army gets ready to battle islamic state fighters for control of two major cities. the white house confirms the same group has murdered a second u.s. journalist, president obama
says the killers will face justice. and a cry for help from farmers in el salvador, facing the force drought in decades. ♪ russian president, vladimir putin is offering a plan to end the conflict in eastern ukraine. he says his proposal could be approved on friday, and the two sides hold talk about possible ceasefire. vladimir putin spoke on the phone with ukrainian president. the russian leader said he and poroshenko have very similar views on how to end the war which has killed at least 3,000 people. >> translator: aiming tend to the bloodshed and stabilize the situation in ukraine southeast, i believe the warring parties could be immediately agree upon an implement the following.
firstly they should end the active operations by the armed forces and armed units of this militia in the areas of donetsk and luhansk. >> in just a moment we'll be talking to harry fawcett in east ukraine, first let's go to peter sharpe in moscow. peter talk us through what we know about this seven-point plan that putin is putting forward. >> reporter: well, we know that putin himself is pretty optimistic. there doesn't seem to be that much cause for optimism when you see the course of relations between ukraine, the rebels and russia. it's an uncomfortable threesome. but president putin says the meeting of the contact group in minsk on friday will provide, he hopes a way of bringing both sides together, and getting agreement on a ceasefire. this is a war that now
encompasses more than 2.2 million people in the area. this is president putin's seven-point plan. putin is calling for an end to offensive operations by both the ukrainian and rebel forces in donetsk and luhansk. he wants ukrainian personal to pull back from the front lines and stop shelling civilian areas. putin is also asking for an international monitoring force to oversee the conditions of any ceasefire plan, and the opening up of humanitarian corridors for the movement of refugees and release supplies into the area. >> peter you just returned from the border areas from eastern ukraine, let's get an idea of what is happening on the ground and what the situation is. >> reporter: yeah, i was on the russian side of the border, and there was a poll that came out last week that suggested that although most of the people in the country supported the -- the interests of the rebel
separatists, only 5%, 5%, were in favor of a full-scale military incursion by russian troops. so i wanted to talk to people in this eastern area which has been badly affected from the war, to see if they supported a russian invasion of eastern ukraine. >> reporter: it is perfect tank country. flat and featureless, and this long stretch of agricultural land along russia's border with ukraine, is now a barely concealed staging post for the thousands of russian troops that nato says have been deployed here. russia donetsk with its stunning 12th cent think church sits right on the frontier, and the church warden points out the ukrainian border, which enveloped the town on three sides. almost every day there is the sounds of shooting and shelling she says. >> translator: the worst thing
is we're getting used to these explosions. at first we ran away, grabbed our kids, jumped into the cars and ran everywhere. >> reporter: as we left she asked to show me a picture, her 17 year old son has been called up to join the army next month. >> translator: this is my second son. of course i'm worried. i'm a mother. >> reporter: each week the war seems to get a little closer to this small community. in july the first shell tell on the town killing one man. the father said his congregation was terrified. >> translator: at first when our president was silent, we were worried. will russia help ukrainians? then we saw the power of russia. >> reporter: at the border, they only allow people to cross on foot, ten at a time. this man said he was offered nearly $500 a day to fight
alongside the pro-russian separatists forces in ukraine. >> translator: i met with the people they offered me to go to luhansk and donetsk to help. >> reporter: but you'll find no enthusiasm from these people for a russian invasion of ukraine. >> translator: the war must end. >> reporter: at ref free camp number 1, shelter for hundreds of families driven out of yeastern ukraine. no call for revenge, just sadness and guilt about those loved ones they have been forced to leave behind. peter sharpe, al jazeera, russian, donetsk. the u.s. president barack obama is on a visit to estonia for talks about the situation in ukraine. and he says that russia is paying a high price for its actions. >> the russian economy has slipped into recession. it's energy production, which is the engine of the russian economy is expected to drop. its credit rating is near junk status. the rubble just fell to an
all-time low. in short russia's actions in ukraine are weakens russia. russia's actions are hurting the russian people. harry joins us life now from mariupol in eastern ukraine. what with rehearing about the alleged ceasefire in the works from the ukrainian side? >> reporter: well, it's been somewhat self contradictory today. the office of the president came out saying that he had agreed a ceasefire with his opposite number in moscow, vladimir putin when the kremlin came out and said we're not a participant in this conflict. there was something of rowing back here in ukraine with the presidency saying they had agreed a ceasefire regime. but if there is a work towards a ceasefire in the current status in eastern ukraine, that can't
be seen as anything but a fairly big defeat of the forces of the president poroshenko, because the gains they have made in recent weeks have been utterly reversed since these claims of significant russian involvement. so the president is in a pretty difficult position, because what you heard from president obama about the damage sanctions are doing, there is no sense that anybody in nato wants to commit armed assist to ukraine. so he really hasn't got much choice, it seems but to accept these terms in offer by vladimir putin. >> and what are we hearing from the rebels on this? >> reporter: well, the dpr, the donetsk people's republic, they are saying according to reports from the news agency that they will only accept a ceasefire if there is a proper withdrawal of
ukrainian forces, and that it's not just those forces. the ukrainian forces too are anything but a unified military presence. there are all sorts of separate militias, and one of them that we spoke to here in mariupol, a senior member of that militia saying the opposite side won't accept anything but our defeat, therefore, we can't trust them and we can't trust the current leadership in kiev because they are made up of businessmen who want compromise as opposed to soldiers. so if president poroshenko does accept this ceasefire, you can expect some pretty upset people on his own side. and as well as that i went to a news conference, by the kiev backed governor in exile here of the donetsk region, and he was talking about a potential ceasefire being an opportunity to restart industry, and loclosg the border between the russian
and ukrainian side. but i kept trying to put it to him that he was really no longer in control of the region. something he did not seem to want to accept. so this will be very difficult. >> thanks very much, harry. iraq says it's getting ready to launch an offensive against the islamic state fighters. they are planning to retake two key cities from the islamic state group. the first objective is tikrit to mosul. both have been held by the islamic state group since june. we're joined live now from bagdad from jane. jane, what are we hearing from the front line and these battles to retake these major cities? >> laura, iraqi military troops say their special forces that
are in the lead have actually reached tikrit, some of them are about 100 meters way from the main government building. no one is expecting this to be a quick or easy battle, those. the iraqi security forces have twiced before to take back tikr tikrit. we're hearing reports that they are retreating in some places in tikrit and in the city of mosul as well, but still it is expected to be a very fierce battle and take some days at least. >> we have seen that, haven't we, with all of these missing soldiers from that area of tikrit. what are you hearing in parliament today about their cases? >> reporter: well, it was a rare appearance by officials from the ministry of defense, and iraqi army generals who painted a bit of a picture of what happened when somewhere between 800 and thousands, as the acting defense minister says, of iraqi
soldiers, many recruits were killed by the islamic state group three months ago. they essentially told the relatives sitting in parliament as well as parliamentaryians, but that they were still investigating. and whoever was responsible would be held accountable, possibly even by execution. another is new details emerging of the mass cure of a small religious minority that has been a target for quite a while, and emerging details about those atrocities. >> reporter: thousands of izidis who escapes to the mountain as islamic state fighters took over their towns in the north of iraq. they finally ended up here. the remanents of families who's men were murdered and women
captured. these two are from the a village where on august 15th islamic fighters rounded up the boys in the schoolyard. >> translator: they told us they would let us go to the mountain, but then they took us to a field and started shooting. >> reporter: they say when the fighters started filming them with a cell phone, they knew they were going to die. the faith is an ancient one. it's practices kept secret for centuries. islamic state fighters believe it's duty to kill them. in this video released by the islamic state group, this fighter tells a group that they are infidels. that they will be given the chance to convert. to save their lives, they do. this man who was shot while escaping from the massacre, lists the relatives he has lost. my mother, my father, my bother,
eight people in all. there's a lot of anger in the izidi community. the iraqi government and the kurds promise protect them, but didn't. this woman says one of her best friends was kidnapped, raped and then sold. >> translator: what we have seen i don't think any others would have seen or experienced. we don't feel we have a country anymore. frankly speaking i don't feel like i belong to iraq anymore today. >> reporter: across the wake, christians have also feld from their traditional homeland. refugee camps are full of even smaller religious minorities. they seem to have been singled out. it's such a small community, 400,000 of them; that the killings and capture of hundreds
of them has traumatized the entire community here and abroad. it is also placed in doubt the very future of the religion here. after such a terrible legacy, survivors say they can no longer live in this land. meanwhile the united states has confirmed that a video released by the islamic state group beheading a second u.s. journalist is authentic. steven sotloff was kidnapped in syria last year, and was not seen again until last month when we appeared in a video released online by an i.s. group. the latest video follows the beheading of u.s. journalist james foley in august. president obama says the lust not be intimidated by the islamic state and has vowed to work to eradicate the group. >> it's going to be take time for us to roll them back and time for us to form the regional
coalition that is going to be required so that we can reach out to sunni tribes in some of the areas that isis has occupied and make sure that we have allies on the ground in combination with the air strikes that we have already conducted. the bottom line is this, our objective is clear, and that is to degrade and destroy isil so it's not longer a threat, not just to iraq, but also the region, and to the united states. kimberly joins us live from washington. kimberly tough talk there from president obama. what more is the white house saying about this video of the supposed killing of the u.s. journalist? >> reporter: well the white house confirming as you pointed out there, that in fact this is an authentic video, that it was confirmed through u.s. intelligence, in fact the president was briefed on it in washington before he left for the three-day european tour.
the president really stepping up his rhetoric, saying in fact that the u.s. is vowing to hold those responsible accountable, but still very vague in terms of specifics on how that might happen. you heard him there saying that the u.s. is promising to degrade and destroy, so that the islamic state group is no longer a threat. but not exactly saying how that would come about. >> what pressure is there for obama and indeed the u.s. as a whole to step up its response? >> reporter: well, there's an enormous amount of pressure and that hasn't only intensified with that second video we have showing the beheading of a u.s. journalist. there has been a lot of criticism leveled on the president and the white house to develop a broader military strategy, one that would target the sanctuary in syria for the islamic state group. until now we have really just actions by the united states targeting the islamic state
group in iraq, but now with the second video, that criticism growing even louder. the president saying that he is not yet ready to make an order to call for military action in syria, saying there needs to be a clear objective and he wants to make sure any military action would be something that u.s. allies would support. >> thanks very much, kimberly. well, the situations in iraq and of course the ukraine mean there will be plenty to discuss when nato leaders meet in the u.k. on thursday. james bayes is in new port where the summit will be taking place. james two major conflicts. what options are on the table for discussion? >> well, there will be a great deal of discussion here, and i think it's worth remembering first, laura, that originally this was supposed to be a summit about afghanistan, but because
of the dispute over the afghan election, there's no afghan president to come here to talk about a deal for troops at the end of this year, but that doesn't mean this will be a summit with no business. in fact it will be one of the busiest in recent years. they will be talking about i.s., and about the situation in ukraine. nato officials deeply worried. they say the situation has deteriorated drastically in the last couple of weeks. they believe there are thousands of russian troops who have crossed the border and are fighting on the ground. and one of the things you can see is a spear head force. about 4,000 troops who could be deployed in an offensive capacity in just two days. >> james, these situations sort of revive nato and breathe new life into its significance.
>> well, nato originally was set up at the height of the cold war, end of the second world war to deal with the threat from russia. nato then moved. it was involved in libya and afghanistan for the last ten years or so, taking on from the other countries that were there, nato members like the u.s. and the u.k. it seems laura, many things have turned full circle, and they are back to dealing with threats from russia. >> james bayes thanks very much. ♪ now it's still unclear whether the heard of al-shabab has been killed in a u.s. drone strike in somali. six people died on tuesday.
the pentagon says the attack was aimed at mukhtar abu zubeyr, also known as ahmed abdi godane. is mohammed reports from southern ssout southern somalia. >> >> reporter: is the day after the town was taken over by government forces. as the morning wears on, few people start returning, one after the other. this woman just got back from the nearby forrest where she spent the night. she came back alone. her children are still in hiding. to deal with these the commander calls a [ inaudible ] to assure them. >> translator: we told the people they will never see al-shabab again. we have decided to put our troops in every village, town,
and also on the roads. we advised them not to fear at all. >> reporter: but there's still little confidence here. these men tell me they are not sure how long the government troops will remain in town and are afraid of repercussions from al-shabab fighters. and clan militiamen is yet another concern the government has to deal with. whatever happens there is no way we will treat them like al-shabab did, this man says. it's shocking that they don't trust us. government officials say this is the final on slot against al-shabab fighters, and they are vowing not to leave any town or village without administration. but that will be a difficult task with all of the clan rivalries that have dogged this country for decades. >> translator: it's the people who will decide about the
leadership. our role is to organize and oversee that they get to choose the leadership they desire. >> reporter: vehicles carrying goods and aid can now pass with ease. good news for the thousands affected by the current drought and hunger. al jazeera, southern somalia. palestinians stay a boat was sailing within its limit. the 50-day conflict between israel and gaza ended last week with an open-ended ceasefire brokered by egypt. the israeli offensive left an estimated 370,000 children suffering from trauma. andrew simmons reports from gaza city's only orphanage. >> reporter: this is a place
where it might seem bright and cheerful, but the underlying mood can be dark. each of these children is bereaved, having lost at least one parent. not all of the deaths have been in the war, but they are now coping with some of the most distressing case they have ever seen. like this 7-year-old. her father died in a road crash two years ago, and in the war she witnessed the death of her mother, two sisters, and her brother in an israeli attack. i want to hug my mother. i miss her she tells her teacher. >> translator: our children feel safe here. we give them psychological and social support, which takes their minds away from the war and the damage. >> reporter: next door her brother visits his psychologist, he talks about seeing the deaths in a school which was supposed
to be a shelter. when i remember it, i cry he says. don't worry about crying, he is sold. his psychologist says he has severe posttraumatic stress disorder. he moves on to other cases, trying to keep his patients active. >> translator: we as adults are struggling to cope. so imagine what it is like for the children. they have many problems like social and psychological issues, and education problems. >> reporter: this center is small, accommodating 90 children, but is preparing to take on more. unicef is increasing support with more mobile teams. there is massive demand for trauma therapy right across g u gaza, but one of the problems is a lack of recognition of that trauma.
psychological support can be overlooked. the people here want to do more to offer child support for those who can't cope. andrew simmons, al jazeera, gaza. al jazeera is demanding the release of three of its journalists who have been detained in egypt for 249 days, baher mohamed, mohammed fahmy, and peter greste received long sentences after a trial seen by many observers as politically motivated. their convictions are being appealed. their case has been raised by the u.n. secretary general in a conversation with the egyptian president. still ahead on this news hour. [ applause ] >> china celebrates japan's second world war surrender as modern territorial disputes continue to feel tensions. plus -- >> i'm tom akerman in detroit where farming in the city isn't
>> hundreds of days in detention. >> al jazeera rejects all the charges and demands immediate release. >> thousands calling for their freedom. >> it's a clear violation of their human rights. >> we have strongly urged the government to release those journalists. >> journalism is not a crime. >> i'm ali velshi,
the news has become this thing where you talk to experts about people, and al jazeera has really tried to talk to people, about their stories. we are not meant to be your first choice for entertainment. we are ment to be your first choice for the news. precedent, it's the "inside story." hello, i'm rayre